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GRF to spend nearly $6 million on capital projects

New accounting software system, pickleball courts and Golden Rain Road repaving top list

By Sam Richards

Staff writer

(Friday, Dec. 2): Acting on November recommendations by the GRF Planning Committee, the full GRF Board on Thursday unanimously approved a list of capital projects with an anticipated price tag of almost $6 million.

The most expensive approvals included $916,000 for some costs related to replacing Rossmoor’s Jenark accounting and property management software system, $600,000 in pickleball court funding and another $600,000 to repave parts of Golden Rain Road.

The capital budget comes from the Trust Estate, which is funded by Membership Transfer Fees, not the coupon.

Other capital projects approved include:

  • Golf-course-related projects in response to the ongoing drought, including completing a drought master plan, reducing turf around some golf tee boxes and eliminating “non-functional turf” at several locations bordering the golf course ($350,000)
  • Pedestrian gates at the main entry as well as a security gate at the bottom of Rockview Drive, collectively called “Access Control Phase III” ($200,000)
  • Dollar Clubhouse patio improvement project ($175,000)
  • New roof for Peacock Hall ($20,000)
  • Replacing carpet at the Rossmoor News ($50,000)
  • Buckeye Tennis Courts resurfacing ($125,000)
  • Replacing the first of several golf course bridges over Tice Creek ($150,000) and golf cart path replacement ($15,000)
  • Rossmoor Parkway median island turf replacement between Golden Rain Road and Terra California Drive ($80,000)
  • Hand dryers and related electrical work in the Event Center bathrooms ($20,000)

Four capital requests were deferred for at least another year – public safety improvements on Rossmoor Parkway ($60,000), chair replacement for Creekside Clubhouse ($55,000), bocce safety and lighting improvements ($20,000) and buying two utility vehicles ($90,000). The golf drought project also was reduced from $500,000 to $350,000.

The Access Control projects generated some Board discussion. President Dwight Walker said the work, mostly that at the entry gate designed to help restrict pedestrian access to Rossmoor, could “drastically change” the look of Rossmoor’s entryway, which could be disenchanting to current and prospective residents.

“I think we need to gather residents’ and public opinion on what we’re doing here,” said Walker, adding that any proposal must include an architectural drawing. Other Board members agreed they want to see what it would look like before it’s built, but were firm on the need for some sidewalk access measures. They cited the handful of recent vandalism and theft incidents believed to have been carried out by people entering Rossmoor on foot. Board member Mary Hurt said such access controls should add value to Rossmoor residences, not diminish it.

New GRF Board member

James Lee, a five-year Rossmoor resident, was appointed on Thursday as the new Board representative to District G, on Rossmoor’s southern tip.

Lee will serve out the remaining term of Dale Harrington, which ends May 8, 2023. Harrington resigned on Oct. 6 for health reasons and died three days later at 84. He was in the first year of his second three-year-term on the Board. Lee was installed toward the end of Thursday’s meeting, in time to vote on selection of Board members to various committees.

Amazon delivers money for access

The Board approved an agreement that will see Amazon pay to install a key at entry lane No. 4 (the far right incoming lane) for its vehicles to more efficiently enter Rossmoor to make package deliveries.

Public Safety Manager Tom Cashion said Amazon will make a one-time payment of about $20,000 – $3 for each of Rossmoor’s 6,700 residences – to GRF.

General manager search update

Walker told the Board on Thursday that two finalists to succeed the retiring Tim O’Keefe as Rossmoor’s top executive – whose title will be “general manager,” not “CEO” – were to have been interviewed this past Friday.

O’Keefe’s last day at Rossmoor is set to be Jan. 6, after seven years.

Thirty-one people from throughout the United States applied for the soon-to-be-open Rossmoor position, with five of them proving qualified for the job. That number was narrowed to three, and one of them pulled out late in the process due to a personal situation.

A new GM is expected to be named in the next few weeks.

O’Keefe’s long goodbye

O’Keefe was at his final GRF Board meeting last week – his 101st, by his count – and opted not to give a formal report, but instead address Board members directly in a more personal way.

“You guys, and your predecessors, have always taken this job seriously, and that’s to the benefit of the Rossmoor community,” he said.

All eight Board members (before Lee formally joined their ranks later in the meeting) thanked O’Keefe for his efforts over seven years, most notably his efforts to keep residents safe during the COVID pandemic.

“Compared to the rest of the nation, it was almost like (the pandemic) didn’t happen here,” Board member Ted Bentley said.

Fellow Board member Maxine Topper said part of the reason she wanted to join the Board was specifically because of O’Keefe’s leadership.

“I’m going to call you at home if I need to, I’m just saying,” Topper said.